There is no room for doubt anymore that the landmine attack on a bus plying on the Dantewada-Sukhma road was planned and executed by the CPIM (Maoist). About 36 people have died, a majority of them civilians. This was not a mistake.The Maoists have said this was a calculated attack to target the Koya Commando wing of the SPOs. This means that the Maoists knew there were civilians on board. The Maoists have taken responsibility for the attack and in a statement to the press, Ramanna has said they “deeply regret the loss of civilian lives”.
Thats comforting. It is good to know that the Maoists are capable of offering at least platitudes in justification of their mercernary devaluation of human lives. They are in very good company as it happens. How is this statement of regret different from the tears routinely shed by U.S. security forces when civilians are killed in Iraq? How is Ramanna’s statement any different from Hilary Clinton’s expressions of sorrow for civilian casualties in Afghanistan? Maybe the Maoists need to reflect on what it says about the moral stature of their “movement” when they sound just like the “Imperialist Forces”.
There are no halfway positions here. Regret is simply not good enough. Regret is a pathetic, insufficient post-facto attempt to elide a serious and growing moral bankruptcy within the maoist movement. Civilian deaths are not simply an unfortunate, and regrettable, fall-out of war. When civilian lives are seen as dispensable within a larger political calculus, this then is the moment when instrumental reason and mercenary self-interest have taken over and no claims can be made to “justice” or anything else. When human beings are seen as dispensable at the altar of some larger political, military, social aim, some higher purpose, that way lies the gas chamber.
The Maoists have urged people not to travel in vehicles taken over by security forces. And on their part, the Chattisgarh government is planning to direct security forces to avoid public transport. However in a state where years of conflict have left public transport shattered, people have little choice but to get onto whichever bus comes along. Exactly what would the Maoists have people do? Threats to people’s lives because they are simply attempting to go about their everyday lives are indefensible.